mikebarrett

Feb 01

Blazers Blast Bobcats

By mikebarrett
When you look up “get-well game” in the dictionary, at least as it relates to the NBA, this game is what you will find.  It may not seem fair at times, but you’ve got to take your frustration out on someone, and that someone happened to be the struggling Charlotte Bobcats on this night.

The Trail Blazers shot out to an early lead, then extended it, then extended it some more, led by 48 at one point, got the regulars some rest, and cruised to a 112-68 win at the Rose Garden.  In other words, it went pretty much the way they wanted it to following the loss at Utah.

With the win the Trail Blazers improved to 10-1 at home.  And before you ask, yes, the players in the locker room are very aware that the challenge now is carrying something like this over to the road, where the team is just 3-8.  Even though their next opponent is one that they’ve already beaten twice, the Sacramento Kings, like the Blazers, are better at home, so don’t go thinking it’ll be a cake walk.

Back to this game, before we look ahead.  Okay, it is fun once in a while to pound someone’s brains out.  This business can be a little cruel at times, but no one feels sorry for anyone.  The Blazers were the bug at times in the past, and it’s nice to be the windshield.

This also could have meaning beyond what the final score would indicate, and that’s that this was a throw-away, predictable whipping.  It’s sometimes a challenge to stay sharp on a night when you know you’re going to win before the ball is tossed up.  The Blazers were sharp, and kept that edge until garbage time.

Jamal Crawford, who has struggled at times to this point, was back to being exactly what we thought he was- a cold-blooded killer off the bench.  Crawford caught fire in the second quarter and scored 14 points, blowing open a game that was already probably out of hand.  Crawford ended with 26 points, on 9 of 14 shooting, and hit 4 of his 6 three-point attempts.

Crawford made an interesting point after the game, and one that others have suggested this season.  He said, when describing how much better his shot as felt as of late, that he’s simply feeling like he’s now getting into better condition.  It’s not that he wasn’t in good shape to start the season, but being a free agent and not knowing where he was going to play until deep into training camp, it’s a challenge to immediately get into mid-season form.  Now, he’s getting there, and it’s showing.  His shot was consistently falling short, and that’s legs.  Hopefully now he’ll just build from here.

LaMarcus Aldridge was up to his usual stuff, scoring an easy 22, and Gerald Wallace torched his former team, scoring 23 points.  Marcus Camby was a beast inside, swatting shots and hustling all over the court.  Camby had a very interesting stat line- 4 points, 5 blocked shots, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds.  This may be the obvious statement of the night, but this team is so much better when he’s on the floor.

Now, it’s the second of yet another back to back for the Blazers.  We’re on our way to Sacramento to take on the Kings.  The team is in search of a road win.  Again.  And, no matter how good this game felt, it’ll be a distant memory (and probably already is) if things don’t go their way on Thursday.

Talk to you on TV from Sacramento.

15 Comments

  1. Simply put...a nice confidence builder for us. I think it will carry over tomorrow and help break down our road woes.

    peace out,
    daddy

    by daddylogan on 2/1/2012 10:59 PM
  2. Nice blog, MB, and nice game for the team. For the first three quarters, it was nearly a perfect game by the hosts. Every team needs one like this occasionally, but I'm sure there wasn't a whole lot of celebration in the locker room -- save that for tomorrow night's win.

    Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug -- I like it!

    Those Clips are messing with the Northwest Division's aura: a win at Denver, beat OKC at home, then a win tonight in Utah. Hmmm...

    Have a safe trip to Sacto and back!
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/1/2012 11:10 PM
  3. Thank you Mike: great hearing your prospect on some times you are the bug and sometimes you are the windshield, Anyway, I haven't watched the game yet, but listened to Tone and Wheels. I am glad the bench got to play. We went from 9th to 7th place with one win. It is starting to look like the Clippers are for real, but I still think they will run into trouble like the rest of us.

    See you tomorrow night.

    by Hg on 2/1/2012 11:38 PM
  4. I liked what Mike Rice said about why Jamaal was scoring so easily, noting that he was able to catch the ball in good positions. That's what he can't really do when he's bringing the ball upcourt and trying to start the offense.
    It was good to see Eliot get more playing time. And it was heartening to see the ball movement by the bench squad during garbage time. Of course, we had two point guards and a shooting guard out there at the same time, so maybe it's understandable. It would have been nice down the stretch for at least one of the alley-oop targets to notice what was happening, but that's about was far as regrets go. Let's hope the restful fourth quarter allows our rotation guys to maintain their energy tomorrow night.

    by Islander on 2/2/2012 1:05 AM
  5. Well, you know my scenario. All I can say to folks is In Flames is a great band. I know many people frown on metal bands, but it was an amazing concert and a Anders (lead singer) let a disabled person on the stage to sing with him, have a beer, and the guy walked away with 2 T-Shirts. Needless to say, we were all jealous, and it was an amazing feeling cheering for that.

    Obviously, I missed this game, but it ended better than I expected. Being the hardcore Blazer fan I am I asked one of my friends that has those fancy phones to keep me updated. I saw the first quarter score, and knew it was over. Glad the Blazers kept the pedal on.

    But, as I've said so many times this season, and you said it to end your blog, it'll be a distant memory if the Blazers lose yet again on the road.

    I've tried to think of the road woes and what causes them. Is it Nate? Is it the Blazers playing to the opponents level? Is it lack of energy? Honestly, I can't figure it out, but it seems mental. As I said to you on Twitter, I think the Blazers absolutely NEED this road win, and a convincing road win, and then they'll be on the right track. Sometimes a trap game (the phoenix game) can really throw you off-course, as we've seen with this Blazer team, and sometimes a good road win can throw you right back on the right track. Hopefully that is the case.

    But, I truly think Sactown is better than their record. This is, after all, the team that beat a good home team in the Spurs, and are so far the only ones to do so.

    We all know the Blazers can win on the road, despite their slump. Their games have shown it, they just have problems keeping their foot on the pedal. One thing that is so frustrating about their loses is that they've been lost by one or two possessions. One game can change that. Just remember the Clipper game last season after the 6 game losing streak. We've got a great team, and a great chance to do damage in the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki says he fears no team in the West. Well, he obviously doesn't have that good of an eye, because I truly believe the Blazers are a team to be feared.

    One last thing I'd like to say, and this is to you MB (and also Rice). I'd just like you guys to know that it's such an amazing feeling being recognized and appreciated by you two. It's always great talking to you on Twitter (and here) and with Rice as well. He's even complimented my tweets twice on his Chalk Talk with Casey. It's an amazing feeling and it's no surprise that Portland loves you both. I don't think I would be nearly as passionate as a Blazer fan if I never joined these blogs and got to know you both. I feel truly blessed, and warms my day. Thank you.

    by Herr on 2/2/2012 1:35 AM
  6. @Mike:
    I posted my opinions on our road woes on Sarah''s blog http://blogs.trailblazers.com/PublicProfileRoot/MyBlog/tabid/99/EntryID/3474/IamaUserID/13183/Default.aspx

    by Hg on 2/2/2012 7:48 AM
  7. A bad team on the second of a back to back. I hope the team used it as a prep for tonight.

    by Ancientone on 2/2/2012 8:50 AM
  8. Win on the road. All that matters to me at this point. Glad the starters got good rest, too bad the deep bench couldn't really take advantage of the full quarter they were given, but glad they didn't give up too much ground either. It was really nice to see such a dominant win, no matter who it was against (after all, this team lost to the Pistons not too long ago).

    by SisillaRiann on 2/2/2012 11:41 AM
  9. i'm not sure if we were that good or charlotte was that bad. it appears the one thing of note is that we didn't let them get into their game. we controlled the pace and we controlled what we wanted to do rather than let their game dictate it to us.

    true, charlotte is having a rough time this season (i expected them to be much better), but this game was important for us. i could almost see this as a trap kind of game; not the type of trap game we would lose, but one that could end up closer than it should have been. of course, the real win here is that we did what we should have done here.

    Ray and Jamal put together good games on the same night, which is a very good thing. the problem is that we haven't seen consistency from either. that's what we really need going forward.

    Crash was outstanding against his former team (btw MB, i made him my pick to click too. with all due respect to Jamal's poerformance, i think GW's 23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and block win it for Crash -- and for us -- P2C winning honors; what do you think?!). LaMarcus showed why he is the best pf in the game. Marcus was a block machine. the Rhino toughed it out and gave us a lot in his minutes.

    Elliot didn't disappoint. this is the type of guy who is going to do some very special things when he gets time on the court. the way i see it, his job right now is to earn his time and make Nate's decisions regarding rotation even better.

    like Stephen, i appreciate the interaction both here and on twitter with you and Rice. love being able to tweet you guys and see the response. i would venture to say that the blazers are the most twitter-friendly organization in the nba.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/2/2012 3:07 PM
  10. This is now a distant memory. Kinda hard to remember this team beat a team by 44.

    by Herr on 2/3/2012 1:19 AM
  11. It's also hard to remember the Blazers crushing Sacramento twice.

    by outcast on 2/3/2012 10:16 AM
  12. We most definitely have road game woes, that we don't have at home. I do believe that it is fixable, if our midrange shots goes in and we make some free throws we win by a land slide, but why our shots don't fall, I haven't a clue. I have faith that we will learn to win on the road.

    by Hg on 2/3/2012 10:23 AM
  13. @Hg: This team does know how to win on the road, that was proven in that road win against Oklahoma City. Then they forgot. It was mostly just dilly dallying around for 3 quarters and then trying to make a huge effort in the 4th just to come up short. Then, starting with San Antonio during that 6 game road trip they play well overall (except for not rebounding) for the first 2 or 3 quarters and then completely fall apart offensively and defensively. Perhaps the problem starts with lack of rebounding, which indicates a lack of overall effort by the team, and then it spreads outward from there. They are way too dependent on Aldridge to score on the road, and when he gets double teamed they resort to shooting three pointers that no one is making instead of getting other people involved in the paint (or they try to resort to impossible clock fighting). On top of that they won't hustle on the defensive end as consistently as they need to, allowing the opposition to go into big runs.

    It's good that Aldridge is getting sent to the All Star team, during the break that should give everyone else a chance to remember how to play on the road. If they don't figure it out when regular play resumes, then I would say it's safe to give up on them for the rest of the season, except at home of course. This isn't the East where their number 8 seed has a below .500 losing record or where a team like Orlando can go on a 4 game losing streak and still be 6th seed. This is the West where a loss can knock you out of playoff contention, which is why dropping winnable road games is unacceptable and deeply frustrating to the fans.

    by outcast on 2/3/2012 5:48 PM
  14. Blazers are 3-9 on the road after having played 6 winning teams and 6 losing teams. Remaining 21 road games are against 13 winning teams and 8 losing teams. Then there's that March road trip: 7 games in 11 days ending in Chicago and OKC.

    We are the Road Worriers.
    --
    don


    by dgpdx on 2/3/2012 6:55 PM
  15. LMA- Allstar
    Camby- Great
    Kurt Thomas &Craig Smith- Do everything expectd of them
    The rest especially the gaurds - Where are the Sports Psychologists when you need them.

    by Ancientone on 2/4/2012 9:42 AM
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